Antidepressants are a controversial subject. Some are against them, and others think they are essential. However, like any other treatment, antidepressants can help in some situations and not in others. They are effective for severe and chronic depression, but not for mild depression. Some doctors prescribe them to patients with anxiety, sleeping disorders, or suicidal thoughts.
The medication should help to regain mental balance and be able to lead a normal life. But they can also have side effects.
So it is important to take into consideration the advantages and disadvantages with your doctor. And we’re going to try our best to clarify the subject in this article.
Why do people use Antidepressants?
In most cases, personal success and happiness and the quality of life is the goal. So some people use medication because its the easiest way out. It’s like a blanket that keeps you warm. Something to facilitate a bridge the gap between an unhealthy mental state and a healthy mental state.
The problem is multifold. People always want to say depression is a disease, just like cancer if you got depression. you need medicine. so they want a magic pill. Psychiatrists are trained in a certain way. and they will prescribe them to you if you insist on medication as a solution.
People need to understand that these pills are not the magic bullet. Several studies proved that only 40 percent of people respond to these antidepressants compared to 30 percent that responds to placebo sugar pills.
Besides these pills are changing your brain chemistry, and it’s not an exact science. There’s a lot of experimentation going on. So it’s not always the way to go.
Are antidepressants Overprescribed?
The APA has estimated that about 12.7 of the U.S. population over age 12 who took antidepressant medication in the past month. Most antidepressants are used to treat depression, while others are prescribed for other conditions like sleep disorders.
It’s a huge number. So clearly, something is not right.
Back in like the early 70s, many clinical trials were being done with people severely depressed and hospitalized. Not all people were given the real drug, and according to the FDA, seventy percent of the time, the antidepressant worked.
Then the symptoms for depression were expanded to includes people that are feeling, anxious, or sad. But the results with this new population of people was quite shocking. Only of people now are responding to antidepressants like norepinephrine, reuptake, Inhibito, Lhasa.
They’re many stories now of people going through some crisis or a stressful event like a break or divorce, which everyone’s probably experienced. Suddenly, they’re given some crazy drug that changes their personality.
What are the side effects of Antidepressants?
The side effects vary depending on the medication and the patient. The most common are nausea, weight gain, diarrhea, and drowsiness. Side effects are possible, especially at the beginning of treatment. About half of all patients temporarily report minor side effects in the first four to six weeks. In some cases, the side effects are so stressful that treatment must be discontinued.
You have to understand that antidepressants are not a final solution. They mask the problem. So, for example, if you take Zoloft for a year, in the entire year you don’t care about anything, you don’t feel bad you also don’t feel great either. It dulls the highs the lows, and it keeps the pain away.
Cognitive impairment is another side effect because the brain regions responsible for feelings and emotions, those responsible for attention, concentration, memory, the ability to learn and remember are also impaired. So people with depression full short in skills such as planning and executing actions, multi-tasking, or mental arithmetic.
Even simple activities such as reading or listening can be extremely difficult or even impossible.
Libido is another side effect. A lot of people that take it, their sex drive goes away and has sexual dysfunction. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but there’s a percentage of people who really affect them
After treatment with the antidepressant, a relapse can occur more often than with psychotherapeutic treatment because the real cause of depression is still there. Maybe you have a stressful job or have problems in your personal life.
How to overcome or prevent depression?
This is the most crucial part of the article. One in five people experiences depression in the course of his or her life. So depression is a real problem. Everyone knows how to prevent tooth decay. They’re a million commercials that show you how to brush your teeth and the importance of flossing. But when it comes to mental health, medication is the only approach in the media.
These are some alternative approaches to the matter because the medication is not always the answer.
Improving your gut bacteria:
The prevailing theory today is that changes in the gut microbiome can affect our brain chemistry. This is mainstream, not fringe science. We recognize now that depression and anxiety may be caused by inflammation in the gut. Now that we know that the primary cause of depression is inflammation, scientists are trying to focus on the gut and how to reduce anything that causes inflammation.
If you have inflammatory substances in the gut, they can travel from your gut through the bloodstream up into your brain across the blood-brain barrier. They suppress the activity in the frontal cortex, which causes the symptoms of depression.
The communication between the intestine and the brain is very complex and takes place in different ways.
The gut has the highest concentration of immune cells in your gut. These nerve cells send signals back and forth between the brain and intestine like a nerve highway. Surprisingly, of the signals come from the intestine and only from our brain.
Also, of the happiness hormone serotonin is produced in our intestines.
The intestinal bacteria produce different substances and send information to our brain via the intestinal-brain axis. Thus, the intestinal bacteria influence our memory and our emotions and modulate, for example, our perception of stress.
to learn about how to take care of your gut flora. you can read our detailed article on how to improve or restore these little helpers.
Introducing intermittent fasting to your lifestyle:
Fasting has many positive effects on the body and can even help relieve symptoms in cases of depression. The brain releases happiness hormones after a few days, the mood automatically improves, even for people who suffer from mild or moderate depression.
Some studies show that fasting can help with depression. As we said before, the intestinal flora has a significant impact on mood, and intermitting fasting is a great way to heal or improve the gut biome.
In clinical studies in humans, people fasted for 24 hours for just 15. And the changes in the microbiome were profound.
Introducing Sulforaphane to your diet:
Sulforaphane is a compound present in most of the cruciferous family like kale broccoli cabbage, Brussels sprouts. Several studies showed that this substance has a positive effect on the brain and can be as effective as the antidepressants like Prozac in alleviating depression.
Sulforaphane has a great effect on brain functions because it has a very profound impact on Inflammation. And as we said before, Inflammation plays a causal role.
Besides, sulforaphane is the most potent naturally occurring compound that can switch a pathway called nrf2 in our body that controls over 200 genes.
I know it’s so hard for people to start anything new. And some People associate discomfort with exercise. But it becomes something you look forward to when you fit it into your routine.
Multiple studies have shown that exercise, aerobic exercise specifically help whit depression. You don’t need to be an athlete. You only need regular exercise in some form or another.
On a biological level, physical effort increases the release of hormones like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Changes in breathing can also have a stress-reducing and tension-relieving effect on the organism. The increased blood flow to the muscles and the increased strain on the cardiovascular system during sports led to reduced tension in the subsequent resting phase. Scientific studies prove that endurance sports can reduce the amount of antidepressant medication needed or even replace it.
On a psychological level, it promotes motivation and gives you a small feeling of success. And if you keep it up, autonomy and self-efficacy expectations grow, feelings of independence and self-determination, which can gradually replace the feeling of helplessness and inability to act and give confidence and further self-confidence.
Moreover, sport is a suitable distraction from negative thoughts. Many affected people report significant relief through the phenomenon of the brooding stop, which sets in during the sporting effort because the focus is on the physical movement patterns. Sport also makes it possible to meet other people in an uncomplicated way, which counteracts the social withdrawal associated with depression.
It can be used for relapse prevention, once you have already overcome a phase of illness, the preventive effect of sport is well documented.
A good social network:
A good social network can be extremely valuable. It protects you from sliding into depression in the first place. And even if you do get depressed, it helps you get out. You don’t need a huge circle of friends for this. It’s all about quality, not quantity. So it pays to maintain good friendships!
If you have positive social contacts, you release less stress hormones during difficult situations, so you get moral support and practical support.
Keeping a diary:
Some therapists encourage their patients to keep a diary of beautiful things or a gratitude booklet. You regularly take time for this and write down three beautiful things that you have experienced that day. By the way, it’s best to do this by hand, because it’s easier to internalize.
That way, you train yourself to pay more attention to positive things. When your depressed, you strongly focused on the negative. The bad things seem more significant, more present than any positive. So getting used to focusing on something positive, will shift perception.
With special exercises, you can learn to be in the moment and to perceive it without evaluating it. Such behaviors are actually successfully used to prevent depression from recurring.